I’ve got nothing. That’s my subject for today. Things unfinished. What do I have that’s unfinished? That’s tough to say because for one I finish a lot of things and for two if I don’t finish something I usually tuck it away and don’t look at it. But I know I have unfinished things.

For many years I had one particular unfinished painting on canvas sitting around the studio. It sat there for years and years. One day a friend asked what it was and I said it was an unfinished painting. Then I went on to tell him that in pictures and movies I had seen of famous artists they always had unfinished canvases around their studios so I decided to keep an unfinished one around mine. He pointed out that that probably meant my unfinished canvas was actually finished since I had no intention of working on it again. I think he was right about that. I can’t even tell you where that canvas is today. I didn’t get rid of it but I stopped paying attention to it.

I have an unfinished comic book from back in my self publishing days. My friends and I made and published six issues of a comic book back in the late 1990s. But it was a bad time for comics, especially small press comics, and we never made any money with them. So we stopped making them. I went on to start another story with my character who starred in my comic but with no place to publish it I stopped working on the story. I think it was ten pages that were pencilled and lettered but never inked. The pages sit in a flat file in my studio.

A couple of years ago I published a few art books on a print-on-demand publishing site. It was fun but nobody was really interested in my books. I sold a handful of them to friends and that was it. I had started and even finished another art book but when I came to the proofreading stage I couldn’t face it anymore. What was the point of finishing it? It was just going to sink into oblivion like the others I had just finished. So I abandoned it. I never bothered to set it up on the print on demand site. It sits on my hard drive. I’ll have to take a look at it someday.

I have ten unfinished cartoon art cards on my desk that have been there for a month. They’re written and lettered but I couldn’t bring myself to draw characters on them. I know I’ll finish these sometime soon but I made a lot of them over the summer. I even filmed them as I drew them for my YouTube channel. It’s intense filming myself as I draw. It takes a to of concentration. Much more than if I drew them without filming it. So that’s the part I haven’t been able to bring myself to do. I could draw them without recording it but that seems like a letdown if I do. I’ll get to them someday.

I have a drawer filled with unfinished drawings. But at least they serve a purpose. As a matter of habit I make a lot of small (around 5×7 inch) pencil drawings. I pick out a bunch of thumbnail ink drawings from my sketchbook and work them up into pencil drawings. I make about three or four of them at a time. Two or three of them might get turned into finished drawings right away but the leftovers go into my drawing drawer. Later when I’m looking for something to do I open the drawer and thumb through the drawings. I usually find something but some of those drawings have been in that drawer for years. I just quickly glanced in the drawer and saw a drawing dated from September of 2009. Things can sit around.

I have a pile of unfinished 5×7 inch gauche paintings. Since they’re unfinished they don’t have any dates on them but I think they’re about eight to ten years old. That’s about when I started doing marker drawings at that size. I enjoyed painting in gouache and still do at times but back then I was looking for a quicker and more immediate medium. Copic markers became my art tool of choice for that function and my gouache paintings fell by the wayside. I could still go back and make something of them but as of now I haven’t.

I even have a folder named “Never Finished Blogs.” I’ve been writing this blog every week since December of 2005 so I have to be good at finishing them but not everything gets finished. There are only thirteen unfinished essays in that folder so I guess that’s not too bad. That’s less than one unfinished blog per year. But why do I insist on keeping them? Because you never know.

I try my best never to delete anything. I’m one of those people who thinks something that may be useless now could be of use in the future. Especially in the digital world where it’s easy to store things. In the real world being a hoarder is a bad idea but in the virtual one it’s okay.

It started with me back in the early 1990s with my photographs. Only about half of the photos I shot were good enough to keep and display but the other half had some good parts in them. I starting keeping the bad ones in file boxes and eventually developed my photo collage style with them. That transferred over to digital when I abandoned film in the early 2000s. I never delete any digital photos. Even the bad ones. At different times I’ve been able to dig through the bad ones and find good stuff in them.

In one particular case I pulled up a nearly black digital photo, played with the levels, and found an image buried in there. It wasn’t a spectacular image but it was a record of the lobby of Marvel Comics when they were on 40th Street. It was the only photo I had taken of that particular location in the building. It made me a little nostalgic when I found it. In the world of unfinished stuff one can often find nostalgia wandering around.